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Senate to probe ‘Bikoy’ claims this week

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – A Senate panel is set to conduct a hearing this week to probe the allegations of Peter Joemel Advincula, who is claiming to be ‘Bikoy’ in the video series entitled “Ang Totoong Narco list,” which linked some members of the Duterte family and their allies to the narcotics trade.

Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs chairman Panfilo “Ping” Lacson on Tuesday said in a text message the hearing will take place on Friday, May 10 at 9:30 a.m.

He added that the formal invitation to Advincula will be sent out through the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) since it was the last place where he was seen.

“The committee is sending out today a formal invitation letter to Advincula thru the IBP since it was the last known link to him and they may have knowledge of how to relay the invitation to him,” Lacson said.

Advincula on Monday surfaced at the IBP to seek legal assistance to file charges against presidential son Paolo Duterte, former Special Assistant to the President and Senatorial candidate Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, and Lawyer Manases Carpio, the husband of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

He also cited threats against his life as one of his reasons for surfacing.

READ: Man claiming to be Bikoy asks help from IBP

The senator also wrote on his Twitter account that his panel will be looking into the issue surrounding the “Ang Totoong Narco list” since it has become a political issue.

However, Lacson said Advincula must personally present a sworn statement and evidence to back his claims in order for the hearing to push through.

“Like it or not, Bikoy has become a political, if not an election issue. The Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs can schedule a hearing this week on one condition: Bikoy must personally present a sworn statement and his evidence to support his accusations,” he said.

Lacson said the scheduled hearing on Friday will proceed if ‘Bikoy’ accepts their invitation and presents his sworn statement.

“It will push through once Bikoy confirms his attendance with a sworn statement ready. In the meantime, we are doing some background investigation and record check on him,” he said.

READ: NBI to summon man claiming to be ‘Bikoy’

READ: PNP to probe ‘Bikoy’ narco videos

The Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation earlier said a probe has been launched on the people behind the Bikoy’ narco videos and are now validating if Advincula is the same hooded figure in the clips. (with details from Nel Maribojoc)

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VP Robredo, opposition senators react to sedition case

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, July 19th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo, Senators Leila de Lima and Risa Hontiveros, and former Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Bam Aquino reacted to the sedition case filed against them in relation to an alleged destabilization plot against President Rodrigo Duterte.

The complaint was filed by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) before the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday (July 18).

Advincula originally appeared in a series of videos dubbed as “Ang Totoong Narcolist” linking some personalities from the opposition as behind the alleged ‘Project Sodoma’ or the ouster plot against the President.

He retracted his claims and resurfaced as one of the respondents and a witness of the CIDG.   

“Ito na siguro iyong totoong hinihintay na pagkakataon. Ito na iyong laban. Dito na magkakaalaman kung sino iyong nagsasabi ng totoo, kung sino iyong nagsisinungaling, kung sino iyong manggagamit at kung sino iyong gumagamit ng mga tao para maghari iyong kagustuhan nila,” he said during the filing of complaint at the DOJ.

The CIDG filed charges of sedition, inciting to sedition, libel, cyber libel, estafa, harboring a criminal and obstruction of justice against Vice President Leni Robredo, Senators Leila de Lima and Risa Hontiveros, and Former Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Bam Aquino.

Also among the respondents are officials of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, several lawyers, and clergymen who were allegedly involved in the destabilization plot.

“Napakaganda noong kaso, napakadaming ebidensya ako mismo hindi ko inasahan na ganoon pala karami iyong matitibay na ebidensya laban dito sa nasasangkot dito sa kaso na ito,” noted Atty. Larry Gadon who took on the case as Advincula’s legal counsel.

Detained Senator Leila de lima called the complaint “hogwash” and just a “piece of trash”.

“Hogwash. Basura pa iyan siguro kaysa sa mga isinampang kaso laban sa akin (Hogwash. It is probably more absurd than the cases filed against me),” she said during the arraignment of her illegal drug case at the Muntinlupa Court on Friday.

“The credibility of Bikoy is already down the drain. Siya iyong criminal. Siya iyong umamin na kriminal eh tapos siya iyong ginagamit ngayon ng CIDG laban sa tingin nila ay kumakalaban sa administrasyon (He is the criminal. He’s the one who admitted being a criminal. Now the CIDG is using him against those who they accused of betraying the government),” De Lima’s legal counsel Atty. Boni Tacardon said.

On his official social media page, Trillanes said: “The filing of cases against key members of the opposition are clear acts of political persecution and harassment by the Duterte administration meant to stifle democratic dissent.”

But Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra clarified that the DOJ is not a weapon for oppression or persecution.

“We shall go only by the evidence presented before us and we don’t care who gets indicted and who goes scot-free,” he said.

He added however that once probable cause is determined and a criminal case is filed in court, the DOJ will exert the full force of the law to secure a conviction.

Opposition lawyer Atty. Chel Diokno, meanwhile, accused the administration of rushing a conviction even without strong evidence against the accused.

“Luto ang kasong ito. Sabik na sabik ata ang administrasyon na ikulong kami, kahit walang basehan o ebidensiya. Bilang abogado para sa mahihirap, sanay na ako sa ganitong pangaapi. Tuloy ang laban natin para sa hustisya,” he said in a statement.

(This case is rigged. This administration can’t wait to put us behind bars despite the lack of basis or evidence. As a lawyer for the poor, I am used to these types of oppression. Our fight for justice continues.)

Hontiveros, meanwhile, said the complaint was nothing but “a badly-written telenovela.”

“Bad acting. Awful script. Terrible plot twist,” she said.

Robredo’s camp said they are yet to receive a copy of the complaint but knowing the background of the complainant, they were sure that it was “completely baseless and nothing more than plain and simple harassment.”

“Kwentong kutsero na pinilit gawing batayan sa kaso (they are forcing a tall tale to be the basis for a case),” Robredo’s legal counsel Atty. Barry Gutierrez concluded. – with reports from Mai Bermudez

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Bato seeks to include substance abuse education in K-12 Program

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Friday, July 19th, 2019

Senator Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa has filed a Senate bill that seeks to include substance abuse education in the K-12 program.

Based on his Senate Bill No. 228, substance abuse prevention education should be included from 4th Grade to the 12th Grade. This aims to equip students with sufficient knowledge and information about the dangers of substance abuse.

“The youth, once involved in drug abuse will likely have academic, relationship and health problems. This leads to lower grades, dropping out from schools and having damaged physical, cognitive and emotional development,” he said.

Based on the data of the Dangerous Drugs Board, there are 4.8 million Filipinos aged 10 to 69 who have used illegal drugs at least once in their lives.

The youngest drug surrenderer and youngest recorded minor rescued for substance abuse were seven-year-olds. —AAC

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Sara, Baste Duterte to skip father’s fourth SONA

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, July 18th, 2019

(L-R) Davao City Vice Mayor Sebastian “Baste” Duterte and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio

MANILA, Philippines – Two of President Rodrigo Duterte’s children will not be attending this year’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) slated on the afternoon of July 22 (Monday).

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and her brother, Davao City Vice Mayor Sebastian “Baste” Duterte, in separate press statements, said they will be missing the event at the Batasang Pambansa.

Sara said she is on a 60-day medical leave.

“It’s a gyne (gynecological) condition,” she said in a text message to reporters.

Meanwhile, Baste said he would have to attend the regular session of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Davao.

The presidential son added he would just stay in the city and watch the event on television.

“Ako dili ko maka-attend ug SONA kay naa man gud tay session sa Tuesday ana so murag kapoy na pud nga mubalik pa ko ug sayo diri sa buntag so diri na lang ko, tan-aw na lang ko sa TV,” Baste said in a press briefing.

(I won’t be attending the SONA because we will have a session on Tuesday. It would be tiring for me to travel back to Davao early in the morning from Manila. So, I will just stay here, I’ll watch the event on TV.)

On the other hand, their eldest brother, Davao City 1st District Representative Paolo Duterte is expected to be present at the ceremony as he will attend the opening of the regular session of the 18th Congress on the morning of July 22.  

Last year, all members of the Duterte family were present during the gathering.

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